Locals who will be impacted by the Waitsia Gas Project Stage 2 are outraged after Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson formally approved the polluting project today (February 1).
Farmer Rod Copeland said the McGowan Government was ignoring opposition to projects like Waitsia 2 because it was arrogantly confident it would be re-elected thanks to its Covid-19 response.
He said locals remained fearful the project would lead to more fracking at the site because neither of the companies behind it - Mitsui and Beach - nor the government had formally ruled it out.
“The government is not listening to people - it is just riding along on Covid-coattails thinking the public will just go along with their decisions but that’s not true here,” Mr Copeland said.
“Households and farming communities do not want fracking, but we are also concerned because gas companies will now try to come onto private land, they will need to build new roads which will create a lot of dust and noise pollution.
“Our local population will be here long after the industry is gone and it will be people like us who will be forced to clean up the mess the company leaves.
“We shouldn’t be circled by industrial gasfields, particularly when fossil fuels are on the way out and renewable energy is the way forward.”
Irwin Pensioner Dianne Horne called on the McGowan Government and Mitsui and Beach to “back off”.
“We don’t need it, we have more than enough gas so just leave it in the ground," she said.
“I just don’t think it’s necessary with the way everyone is turning to renewables. Why go further into gas? It shouldn't be happening.”
Waitsia has been fracked before, and there are tight gas reserves there that would require fracking to extract.
Locals would like to see a firm announcement from the companies and a formal condition from the government that there will be no fracking at this location.
There are also concerns that the companies plan to re inject wastewater into old oil and gas wells - this sort of activity has been shown to cause earthquakes in other places around the world.
The environmental plan also shows there will be drainage of the Yarragadee Aquifer, and there could be an impact on a local wetland - the Ejarno Spring, which is culturally significant for First Nations people in the area.
Even if Mitsui and Beach do not frack, this project will still be a carbon bomb - adding more than 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere at a time when the world needs to be doing all it can to reduce the impacts of global warming.
Proposed offsets by the company do not even take into consideration scope 3 emissions - emissions that will be generated where the gas is burned.